The Minor Group says it is still business as usual at its Anantara Si Kao Resort which has reportedly been ordered by the Thai Supreme Court to exit, as it infringes on forest reserve and protected mangrove forest in the Tambon Mai Fad, Sikao district in the southern Thai province of Trang.
When contacted on whether the ruling was final and no further appeal would be made, Minor’s chairman & CEO Bill Heinecke told TTG Asia: “I believe the owner is in discussion with the national park to find a solution. For the moment it is business as usual. We shall keep you posted.”
According to local media reports, the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plants Conservation brought an encroachment case against the resort owner, JBB, in 2013 after its aerial and ground survey showed that the resort was built on protected forest area. The case was dropped in 2014, upon which the department appealed. In 2015, the Appeals Court ruled in favour of the state. JBB appealed to the Supreme Court in the same year, with final ruling upholding the Appeals Court’s verdict. The verdict by the Supreme Court was read at the Trang Provincial Court on January 25 in the presence of both disputed parties.
The court ordered JBB to remove its facilities out of the area and ordered the Land Department to nullify the land ownership documents because they were illegitimately issued.
Tour operators are waiting for the official advice on the closure date. Said David Kevan, director, Chic Locations UK: “Once that is received, any clients booked will have to be offered an acceptable alternative or a full refund of holiday cost which will include any airfare.
“The resort is uniquely positioned in its location, so it will not be easy to find something similar. It’s very unfortunate on several levels, especially to the local staff who might find alternative employment difficult. But I think this is a general policy to show that any illegal building that infringes on national park land, or indeed beaches, be it large or small, will be demolished.”